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Joining forces with the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks.

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

MARECO has joined the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks (also known as the Sharks MOU) as a cooperating partner. The Sharks MOU is the first global instrument for the conservation of migratory species of sharks and rays; making it a conservation tool of significant importance for these threatened taxa.

The global abundance of oceanic sharks and rays has declined more than 70% since 1970 (Nature, 2021) which has significantly increased the extinction risk for sharks and rays. Half of shark species now classified as endangered or critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species; a worrying figure as migratory species such as blue and mako sharks are imperative to marine ecosystem health. MARECO's mission is to facilitate marine conservation through collaboration between research groups, non-profits, NGOs, governments and local people which is why we are extremely pleased to be joining the Sharks MOU.

The Sharks MOU is guided by five main conservation objectives:

I. Improving the understanding of migratory shark populations through research, monitoring and information exchange;

II. Ensuring that directed and non-directed fisheries for sharks are sustainable;

III. Ensuring to the extent practicable the protection of critical habitats and migratory corridors and critical life stages of sharks

IV. Increasing public awareness of threats to sharks and their habitats, and enhance public participation in conservation activities

V. Enhancing national, regional and international cooperation.

MARECO is supporting governments to enhance management and conservation strategies for sharks and rays, many of which are listed under CMS, through dedicated research effort. More specifically, we are supporting the development and implementation of Concerted Actions for the whale shark, following its adoption at COP12 in 2017 the Philippines. For a highly migratory species like the whale shark, international cooperation is vital. MARECO is a strong advocate for the MOU by emphasizing its relevance and importance and is encouraging Range States to become Signatories to the agreement.

We join an incredible line up of marine conservation charities and awareness groups in this cooperative; such as Project Aware, The Manta Trust and The Shark Trust who are already working hard to accomplish a shared goal of maintaining favourable conservation statuses for migratory sharks and rays. We are looking forward to being a cooperating partner in this memorandum and will continue to strive for developing and implementing action to improve the conservation status of species such as the whale shark.

Read more about threats to sharks and rays in the Dulvy, 2021 paper below and about our cooperation with the Sharks MOU here.

Dulvy 2021 Overfishing drives over one-third of all sharks andrays toward a global extinct
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